International Business Seminars

International Business Seminars - Module 5 – US Commercial Services Briefing

Module 5 – US Commercial Services Briefing

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Please note all times are listed in Pacific Standard Time.

December 14, 2020
4:00 PM PSTUS Commercial Service (Live presentation)
• Student presentations
• US Commercial Service Presentation and Q&A

Module 5 Microsoft Team Meeting Link:
Please click the link below to join Virtual Japan Microsoft Teams Meeting Room.

  1. US Commercial Service Microsoft Teams Meeting

Student Presentations:

US Commercial Services Briefing:

(Live Interactive Presentation)

The U.S. Commercial Service provides guidance on doing business in Japan and offers valuable assistance to help U.S. businesses exporting to Japan. As the world’s fourth-largest buyer of American products, Japan is a market that American companies should not overlook but approach with a thoughtful strategy. Japan is a technology powerhouse, a “proving ground” for consumer requirements, and stands in the vanguard with respect to the sweeping changes recently seen in developed market demographics. Most U.S. state economic development agencies are also well aware of the important foreign investment coming into their communities from Japan. While the reasons U.S. firms engage with Japan are diverse, savvy firms recognize that underestimating the strategic and tactical importance of the Japanese market may disadvantage them not only in Japan but in the United States and third-country markets as well.

Eight years have passed since “Abenomics”- a three-pronged strategy of monetary loosening, fiscal stimulus, and growth-oriented structural reform- was launched, drawing considerable attention from U.S. businesses. Abenomics has had a positive effect particularly on the unemployment rate in Japan, recording a record low unemployment rate of 2.41% in 2019. Japan’s nominal GDP growth is also impressive, achieving $5.154 trillion (565 trillion yen) in 2019 for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008.

Japan is among the remaining 11 member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the US withdrew from in 2017 after Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum. With its participation in the TPP, its members account for nearly 40% of the World’s GDP. The liberalization required as part of being a TPP member country is seen to play a crucial role in promoting domestic economic reforms in Japan. In January 2018, the remaining eleven countries agreed on a revised TPP, now renamed the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership” (CPTPP). CPTPP is substantially the same as TPP but omits 20 provisions that had been added to TPP at US insistence and that are now no longer binding. These provisions primarily relate to investment, government procurement, and intellectual property.

Japan remains the world’s third-largest economy, after the United States and China. Japan is the fourth-largest export market for U.S. goods and services, exporting over $74.7 billion (8.1 trillion yen) worth of goods to Japan. US exports to Japan account for 4.5% of overall US exports in 2019. The top US exports to Japan in 2019 were: mineral fuels ($9.3 billion), aircraft ($8.8 billion), optical and medical instruments ($7.1 billion), machinery ($7.0 billion), and electrical machinery ($4.6 billion).

In 2018, Japan became the second-largest- foreign direct investor (FDI) in the United States, at nearly $484.4 billion. Japanese investment constituted nearly one-fifth of all foreign investment in the United States in 2019.

In the 2019 fiscal year, the national debt in Japan was 10.35 trillion USD (1,134 trillion yen), accounting for more than 200% of its GDP. On top of this, the aging and shrinking population is a major challenge confronting the economy. On average, Japanese women only gave birth to 1.37 children in 2019, whereas the percentage of people over 65 years of age accounted for 28.4% of the entire population in 2013.

The U.S.-Japan alliance is a cornerstone of U.S. security interests in Asia and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity. The United States-Japan alliance continues to be based on shared vital interests and values. These include stability in the Asia-Pacific region, the preservation and promotion of political and economic freedoms, support for human rights and democratic institutions, and securing prosperity for the people of both countries and the international community as a whole. Japan is one of the world’s most prosperous and stable democracies.

Speaker Introduction:

(Live Interactive Presentation)

Stephen J. Anderson Steve Anderson is the Commercial Officer (CO) at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. Most recently, he served as Commercial Officer for U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) in Thailand, based in Bangkok, and previously, a Commercial Attaché in Tokyo, Japan. Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, USCS is the principal trade and investment promotion agency of the U.S. government.

Steve has held a variety of postings with USCS, including as the Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland; the Principal Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Nagoya, Japan; and the Commercial Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China.

Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce and becoming a Foreign Service Officer, Steve spent more than seven years in academia as an Associated Professor at the International University of Japan, GLOCOM as well as an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison teaching comparative politics and courses focusing on Political Science vis a vis East Asia.

Steve received a B.A. in Government from Oberlin College, and an M.S.and Ph.D. in Comparative Politics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Steve also speaks both Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

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